Published On: Thu, Jun 9th, 2016

Op-Ed: Boca Business is Booming

images-10By: Robert S. Weinroth

Three news stories – one message: Boca Raton is OPEN for Business!

The first, of course, was the news this week that the Office Depot / Staples merger will officially be declared dead on Monday May 16th as a result of the FTC’s refusal to bless the union.

While this means the Office Depot Headquarters will remain in the City of Boca Raton, this will now require Office Depot to re-engineer itself into an entity capable of competing in a world where the Internet marketplace has become a dominant force.

A big chunk of the $250 million in breakup money being handed over by Staples would be well spent in the effort.

The second, Randy Schultz reported in his weekly blog that Simon Property Group plans a major makeover of the Town Center at Boca Raton Mall with an estimated price tag of about $40 million to update the 36-year-old property which recently renovated its front entrance.

The Town Center at Boca Raton Simon Mall, which boasts a unique mix of 220 stores, is one of the prime locations for Simon, the nation’s largest owner of shopping malls (with a full or partial interest in about 325 properties).

Despite the shift from brick-and-mortar to online retailers impacting the likes of Office Depot and Staples, Simon is doing well as demonstrated by its recent decision to raise its dividend for shareholders. This investment speaks volumes for the confidence Simon has in the long-term vitality of the City Of Boca Raton!

Third, the Palm Beach Post is reporting that Bank of America will move into three floors of One Town Center, just east of the mall. Crocker Partners bought the building, once home to Tyco International, in late 2014.

The banking giant is leasing 62,000 square feet on the seventh through ninth floors of the 10-story building. Bank of America is expected to consolidate several offices in the space, including offices for its affiliate, Merrill Lynch. The deal is a big coup for One Town Center’s co-owner, Tom Crocker, who built the 190,000-square-foot tower

Crocker has returned to Boca Raton in a big way. In addition to the former Tyco headquarters, Crocker Partners also bought Boca Center (formerly Crocker Center). Crocker has been circulating a proposed plan to redevelop “midtown” (in and around Strikes, Nippers, and the corridor between N Military and the mall.

It’s one thing for the City to redevelop an area to restore its commercial and residential appeal – it’s quite another for private entities to make the massive financial commitments we are witnessing.

All of this speaks to the vitality of the City of Boca Raton and its ongoing economic development!

 

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